It’s a theme that has circulated the sports spectrum before. A cast-off member of a rising team basks in his one shining moment against the club that unceremoniously ditched him, only to ultimately watch that team achieve the sport’s pinnacle at the end of that season.
That didn’t stop Todd Frazier from having some fun last night in front of a national television audience.
The Mets third baseman, signed away from the Yankees this past offseason, was front and center in snapping the Metropolitans’ eight-game losing skid. He launched a two-run homer off Luis Severino in the fifth, then ended the game by snagging a scorcher off the bat of Gary Sanchez and turning it into a 5-3 double play.
While that’s all fine and dandy for the Todd-father, one of the game’s all-around good guys, it’s going to be the Yankees who get the ultimate last laugh in 2018 (at least according to DraftAmerica’s preseason World Series prediction).
So even though he won’t get a World Series ring in 2018 when he otherwise might have, Frazier will get to savor this moment forever. And he won’t be the first player or team to suffer this type of predicament.
Flash back a half-decade, and recall that the Red Sox let one of the only highlights from a miserable 2012 season walk. Cody Ross joined the D-Backs after a strong campaign in Boston. When Arizona visited Fenway Park in early August of that season, Ross had the game of his life, going 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles, and three RBIs. He had a postgame interview with MLB Network where he couldn’t stop smiling about the whooping he put on Jon Lester. But less than three months later, Ross and his D-Backs were on the golf course while the BoSox were celebrating their third world championship in 10 years.
Staying on that Boston theme, remember the Seahawks’ trip to Foxborough in 2016? Two years after perhaps the most painful Super Bowl loss in history, Seattle went to New England on a short week to take on the 7-1 Patriots. This time around, fortunes swung in the Hawks’ favor at the end of the game. Leading 31-24 in the closing seconds, Seattle won with — what else? — a goal-line stand, stiffening on four straight plays to (temporarily) right the wrongs of their own goal-line failures 22 months prior. But despite the win, it was the Patriots who went on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, while Seattle was clobbered by Atlanta in the divisional round.
And how about LeBron James in 2011? Though it took the then-free-falling Cavs four tries, they finally broke through in a big way in James’ second “homecoming” of the season in late March of 2011. The playoff-bound Heat were torched by the 14-58 Cavaliers, winning 102-90 despite LeBron’s triple-double. It was a small consolation for the Cavs, and of no consequence to the Heat, who despite losing the Finals that year to Dallas would go on to win the next two after that. It squashed owner Dan Gilbert’s sour-grapes declaration that the Cavs would win a title before James did.
If the Yankees do, in fact, go all the way in 2018, Frazier will feel the sting of what could have been. But at least he’ll always have that one night. And he won’t be alone.